Teresa Budrey, who spent more than 20 years working in NHS learning disabilities nursing services before joining the RCN, said Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) had the potential to help prevent ill health and deliver care in the most appropriate settings for patients.
But she said the plans needed to be honest about the real cost of providing services to the communities they served, as well as providing full information about how staff – including nurses and healthcare assistants – will be affected.
Teresa said: “Any reductions in the number of registered nurses as a result of the STPs would be a significant concern to us because of the impact it would have on the quality of patient care.
“In this region we have yet to see full details of how staff will be affected. “But the evidence on the ground is that plans are being rushed through to implementation without proper engagement and consultation with staff and the communities that use services.”
Teresa, who completed her nursing training in Norwich and joined the RCN in 2003, added that RCN Eastern would not support the implementation of STPs that compromised patient access to safe, dignified and compassionate nursing care.
“The RCN expects each STP to involve RCN officers and nursing staff in the development of the clinical and workforce implementation plans for their area, and have full, open and transparent consultations with the public,” she said.
In her new post Teresa will lead a teams representing over 38,000 RCN members working in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. As well as the introduction of STPs, RCN members currently face many other challenges in their work including dealing with the pressures caused by rising demands on NHS services and a continued battle for fair pay.
Teresa said: “I am looking forward to representing our members across the Eastern region and working with them to challenge the cap on pay rises which means many struggle with the rising cost of living. “With continued recruitment and retention problems across health services, we must urgently look at how we can retain the staff we need to provide care to a growing number of patients.”